I’m back with another recap of something that happened days and days ago. Some bloggers seem like they live blog events; I’m more of a historian. Just call me Doris Kearns Jovi.
In this week’s edition of yesterday’s news, I’m finally getting around to telling you guys about reuniting with my beloved Jon Bon Jovi last week. Well, me, Jon and nearly 19,000 other people. But I’m sure, across the masses, he and I had a moment. I’m sure of it.
It was a moment that almost didn’t happen.
The concert was scheduled for 7:30 in Tampa. I live in Orlando. A mere 80 miles separate us, but those 80 miles can be fraught with trouble.
We didn’t leave until about 5:30 because it was a once-in-a-blue-moon event — parental observation day at E’s ballet school. Parents are only allowed to watch classes once per session (once in the fall and once in the spring). And considering I don’t shop anymore to pay for this school, I was going to get my money’s worth dammit.
Besides, my ballerina was so happy to finally show off for me.
And I never took my eyes off her for the entire hour. Well, other than when I wasn’t obsessively staring at her teacher’s calves. I mean, come on with those things. Have you ever seen calves like that? Wowza! I’ll have some of what she’s having.
After ballet, I met Katy at my house and we were off! Sort of.
Ugh, why must I-4 always be a nightmare?
It took us forever to get there. The tickets were a Christmas gift from DadJovi, and the gift included a hotel room. Woot! Now, the benefit of having a hotel room is the ability to party at the show.
Well, thanks to a combination of I-4 and Tampa’s God-awful traffic management, that didn’t happen. We got off the highway at 7:15 and debated going to the hotel first (it was within a mile of the arena) but we made the (incorrect) call to drive on and just get to the show. Normally, I wouldn’t be so worried about being at a show at the start, but they’d been warning all week to be there on time because they were livestreaming the first 30 minutes of show on BonJovi.com.
So we headed directly toward the Tampa Bay Times Forum, hoping we wouldn’t be that late. Ha! We then spent a nerve-wracking, extraordinarily frustrating 40 minutes trying to get to a parking spot. Every garage they directed us toward was suddenly not available. We ended up doing a full circuit around Channelside Drive before FINALLY being directed to head north a few blocks. When all was said and done, we were basically back to the hotel anyway.
I was so flipping pissed. It was a nightmare. Tampa, you’re better than this. Get your shit together for live events. This is part of the reason I now avoid concerts at the Ford, er, sorry, 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheater. After a Coldplay concert, we once got stuck in the parking lot for TWO HOURS waiting to get out.
Tampa, there’s a lot to love about you, but your crowd management skills are not near the top of the list.
We pulled into the parking garage and I flashed all the cars around us as I quickly changed. I’d been smart enough to bring a twist-off lid bottle of wine, so Katy and I each downed a quick red Solo cup of wine during our walk to the arena. Klassy.
After making a much-needed pit stop in the restrooms, we rushed to find our seats and, and I don’t use this word lightly, LITERALLY, as we found our seats, the lights went down and “SHOT THROUGH THE HEART AND YOU’RE TO BLAME” rang out through the arena.
Thank you, Jon, for waiting for me.
What? You can’t see him. Yeah, me neither. I actually could see it better than it appears in these photos. I won’t tell you how many
28 pictures I took trying to get ONE where the screen showed Jon as clearly as I could see him. Unfortunately, in our rush to get inside, I left my real camera in the car and my Droid apparently hates to take pictures of screens.
I hope Bon Jovi will forgive me, but here’s an awesome shot from the band’s website from another show on the tour that gives you a better idea of how great my boy looked.
So freaking hot.
And in the hopes that Jon will forgive me for sharing these pictures here, let me stress that these photos were taken by David Bergman, and prints area available for purchase at BonJovi.com/prints. You know, in case you were considering getting me a present sometime.
Right from the start, though, Jon and the boys were on fire. About two songs in, he welcomed us all and promised a three-hour show. He was, of course, adorable. And rocked so very hard.
After a couple songs (read: the first new song they played) we decided to go find some booze. After all, this was Momma Katy’s first big night out since pushing a kid out a few months ago. That’s grounds for partying!
We kept seeing people pass us with real drinks, not giant, bloat-inducing cups of beer. Finally, we stopped someone and asked, “Where did you get that magical concoction?”
He pointed us toward a black curtain.
Say what? It looked like it was some fancy, private VIP area. But the person standing outside just waved us in. We’re big time like that. OK, fine, technically anyone could go in. Are you happy now that you burst my bubble.
But when we got in there, it was as magical as you would imagine. There was no line at the bar and when we looked up, we were right next to a big screen. Sweet. But then, I walked closer to the railing and looked over it. Holy crapballs. We were RIGHT behind the stage.
It was awesome. Plus, we were there when he played one of my favorites, “It’s My Life.” So much awesome … until they decided to raise these giant video columns up and down. Eventually they stayed up, blocking the view of the stage. Sucks for the people in the back, so we headed back to our nosebleed seats.
Our seats were the only sour note of the night. Somehow, we were surrounded by curmudgeons on either side of us. They were NOT happy with our dancing and singing. Whatever, bitches. I didn’t come this far and wait this long to NOT sing my heart out to “Dead or Alive,” particularly the greatest line in rock history: “I’ve seen a million faces, and I’ve ROCKED them all.” If that doesn’t get you out of your seats, you’re dead inside. And yes, that’s an actual scientific fact.
As Jon promised, they played long and hard (TWSS) and played all the classics (well, everything except “Blaze of Glory,” which I know was technically just a JBJ song, not Bon Jovi, but I’m still bitter). They played on a circular stage, so at some points, Jon and Richie would could out into the audience to perform a few songs. There weren’t a lot of frills in the show (there were some videos from time to time, including a creepy sexy silhouette of a woman during “Bad Medicine” that sort of looked like a stripper going through one of the airport security screeners. I can’t explain it but it was equal parts odd and hot).
And I learned something about Katy — apparently she’s the world’s biggest Richie Sambora fan. Strike that, the world’s SECOND biggest Richie Sambora fan.
I swear, Katy and Jon love him so much. I don’t get it. He drives me crazy, although I do appreciate that his voice has deteriorated so much that he can no longer take the high notes on “I’ll Be There For You.” You know who can, though? Jon. That man doesn’t age.
Technically he does. It turns out, his 51st birthday was the day after the show. We joined in with the ladies in front of us to yell “HAPPY BIRTHDAY JON” every once in a while. For some reason, he never heard us.
Speaking of ladies, there were some awesome ones at the show. Note to self: next Bon Jovi concert, any of the following outfits will more closely follow the dress code:
a) Head to toe sequins
b) A leather bustier, preferably without another shirt under it
c) An ’80s style prom dress.
The third option is one I can really get on board with. Have I ever showed you my prom dress from 1994? I think it’d totally work in this instance.
Actually, you know what the scariest part of that picture is? My mom is the exact same age in it as I am now. Thank Gooooood E is closer to BroJovi’s age (in this pic) and not mine. I’m so not ready to think about a 16-year-old daughter hoping to live out the situation Jon describes in “Bed of Roses” at her prom. Wait, what were we talking about?
Back to the Forum.
As usual, Jon and the boys did not disappoint. There was one new thing I learned about my boyfriend — he loves the duck face. I blame Snookie. Apparently she’s infecting the entire state (insert your own joke here).
(PHOTO CREDIT: Eve Edelheit, Tampa Bay Times)
I’m sure I’ve said this before (probably in my last Bon Jovi show review. Read that here if you missed it), but it bears repeating. If anyone can make this happen, I’d like an acoustic version of “Livin’ on a Prayer” to be playing as I arrive at heaven, please.
It’s Jon’s will. Why else would he make this happen?
Because he’s a rock God, that’s why.
Thank you Bon Jovi for three full hours of flat-out rocking good fun. Madonna, I still havent’ forgiven you for the time I saw you in 2000 and you only played TWO classic songs and one of them was La Isla Bonita. You could learn a lot from the boys from Jersey. A night full of the hits, with a few new ones thrown in for good measure, is what the fans want.
Jon, I will always love you. These five words I swear to you.
Have you ever been to a Bon Jovi concert? Just lie to me and say you want to if you haven’t. Have you ever missed a concert because of traffic?
I went to a Motley Crue and Poison concert in the summer of 2011. That’s similar, right? It’s similarly awesome.
Btw – I know you said you were coming to ATL for the Final Four. I just found out that there is a FREE dave matthews concert that Sunday if you are still in town and like them. I plan to go, though it could be a total cluster.
Ummmm, Motley Crue/Poison sounds AMAZING! So much radness.
Yes, I heard about the free concerts! There’s also Zach Brown Band on Friday night and Ludacris and others on Saturday. But I we’re going to try for the DMB show, if we can work it around the dinner reservations we made. I’ll be in touch w/ you to see if there’s any chance of meeting up. Do you happen to work downtown? If nothing else, maybe lunch Monday? We’ve got plans w my husband’s cousin Sunday afternoon and games Saturday night and Monday night. Getting so excited!
So happy to read your review. I haven’t been to a Bon Jovi concert (don’t hate on me!) only because he’s never come close enough to where I live. I don’t just travel for anyone. 🙂
I have to drive once a week or so to Tampa – so if I have to drive that terrible stretch any more than I have to now, it better be for front row seats.
Next time, hopefully Jon will realize Tampa is so old news and the new Amway is where it’s at!
I’m loving your prom dress. That is so 1994. Just love.
He was here in the summer of 2011. It was my first time to the new Amway. I really can’t figure out why they skipped Orlando on this tour. On that one, they did both. And so did Pink last week. And the Amway show we saw was sold out too. So odd.
Ugh, I can’t imagine having to do that drive that often. There is just ALWAYS traffic out by Disney, in both directions. At any time. So frustrating.
And yeah, my prom dress is all kinds of awesome. The color. The mullet style. The big bow which had some rhinestones on it that you probably can’t see. I just remember LOVING it so much when I saw it.
Kerry Ann @Vinobaby's Voice says
Ahh, never seen Jon. It’s on my bucket list. Glad you had fun.
Yes, traffic to Tampa concerts SUCKS! Two cities during rush hour—grrrr. We got caught in it last week heading to Pink. (Yes, I know she played here, but a friend surprised us with free tix for Tampa.) We didn’t get home until 2 a.m. on a school/work night. C’est la vie. The things we do for concerts.
And I totally think you should have worn that dress—the hemline is in style now, right?
I wondered how you ended up over there for the show rather than here. Yes, I’d travel to Tampa for free Pink tickets, too! Ugh. It’s the WORST getting out of there. That’s why I was so glad my Xmas gift included a hotel room. If it had been a school night, it wouldn’t have but it made for at least a relaxing end of the night, especially since the concert wasn’t over until 11;30!
Is that hemline in style now? Well it’s about time because I’m pretty sure it wasn’t when I wore that!
My bone to pick with JBJ (and it’s the same one I have to pick with Coldplay) is WHY TAMPA??? Orlando has such a better venue!!! I agree that the traffic and parking sucks there (glad you ladies did try the wine/solo cup pre-partying trick though, it helps a little, right?). It’s so damn hard to get to! (Of course, my brother lives right there now, so I have a place to stay/park, BUT STILL… I-4).
Sounds like a great concert. Although, I think next time DadJovi needs to do a little better with the seats (kidding, I still owe him for fixing my battery in the rain).
If JBJ ever comes to Orlando I would definitely go. I think he needs to do a second leg of this tour.
Oh – and I meant to add — HOLY WOW on your mom’s hair.
I just don’t get why Bon Jovi played here at the new Amway in 2011 but skipped it on this tour. I’m pretty sure that year he played in both Tampa and Orlando. He talked during the show about how much he loves Tampa and when the band signed its first contract 30 years ago, he bought a condo in Tampa! He said he figured if the music thing didn’t work out, at least he could retire to Tampa at 22. He said that condo has been in his family since and his cousin either still has it or recently sold it. He said she was backstage. So I’m pretty sure he has a strong family connection to Tampa, so that’s why he always includes it. But I still don’t get skipping Orlando. For a band, it’d seem to be a good trip to do both if you sell out both — easy travel between. But what do I know?
And yes, my mom’s hair is a thing of wonder!
Hey now, where’s the picture of MomKaty and you getting crunk? tsk, tsk.
I love JBJ too and miss going to concerts. I still want to see Maroon 5 when they come to Orlando at the end of the month.
Can you believe that two women with three blogs between them didn’t take one picture of themselves? Such a blogging fail! I even straightened my hair and put on eyeliner, dammit!
I just want to see Adam Levine, preferably at a yoga class. That would do it for me!
Sounds like an amazing show. I saw Bon Jovi years ago when I was in college and it was great. It is one of those shows that is on my list, but I really hate dealing with Tampa traffic. That really sucks that you all were late.
A couple number of years ago, we were going to a show in the Chicago suburbs and it took 2 hours longer than it should have. We missed both opening bands and part of the main act, only to spend about 4 more hours in the car to get hope. Yeah, that blew.
BTW…love the prom picture.
The band really is just ageless. I know it sounds like a stretch but I really think they’ll be like the Stones. I can see me seeing them in concert for at least another 25-30 years. Lord knows JBJ is in good enough shape to keep going!
Ugh, that Chicago incident sounds like a nightmare. I’ve had some bad traffic experiences getting to shows but nothing like that. SOOO annoying.
Nanci @ This Crazy Life of Mine says
Oh yes, I was there too. I had floor seats, which I bought pre-sale. I had 4 tabs open on IE and I was using all 4 to get seats I wanted. Forget that I’m short and can’t see over the people in front of me. I love, love, love Jon Bon Jovi – SOOOO gorgeous. Great show. You should check out my blog post on it and see the pics I posted from the concert I went to 2006. He was RIGHT there. I know you will appreciate it.
For some reason, I can’t leave the following comment on your blog! So I copied and pasted it and brought it over here!
So awesome!!! I’m super jealous of your seats! I guess this is what happens when my husband buys me tickets. I joked that he was just trying to put as much distance as possible between me and my beloved Jon. You were right — all of your pics, but especially the 2006, are so amazing! I think this was my fourth or fifth time seeing him and I’ve never been that close. Definitely a bucket list item! Glad you had as much fun as we did. I mean, how hard do they rock? So hard, that’s how hard.
Kashi @ Cape Island Runners says
Who are these people that go to concerts and then don’t want to sing or dance? Is this some form of punishment that curmudgeons inflict on one another? I have had that happen to me before and it is always a total mystery!
I have never been to JBJ but would really like to – not for myself but because my BFF LOVES him, maybe as much as you. It would be so fun to go and get caught up in her adoration!
People who hate to sing or dance at a concert just make me crazy. It’s funny, though, because my favorite band is Wilco and the lead singer is notoriously cranky about people singing along at certain parts. Unless he calls for it, I don’t think he likes it. I still love him so much anyway.
But the people in the seats who don’t want to get up? They can bite me. The good thing was that SOOO many other people around us, including one memorable woman a few rows in front of us, were working it for every song so we felt validated in our decision to bop along too!
And yes, you WILL caught up. I don’t think Katy is that big of a fan but she had a blast last time we went and was excited to go again, so I think I’m converting her to the Jovi side! I’ll bring you along too.
Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run says
Super cool of JBJ to wait for you like that. Alright, here we go:
1. Always go to your hotel first. Always. Because you have parking there.
2. It took you 2 hours to get out of the GARY? I have never had that happen and I have frequented a lot of concerts there. Although, the fairgrounds are like that but I usually stay at the hotel across the street when I go there. Red Roof Inn FTW.
3. Of COURSE I’ve seen JBJ. Twice. And he played Blaze of Glory, so suck on that!
4. Dry County is one of my favorites songs from him. Man, I need to find that CD.
5. Did he play a ton of new stuff? Cuz I’m just not a big fan of the new songs.
6. Is he still shaving his chest? Do you think he did the laser thing for that? Cuz that boy used to have a really hairy chest and then Sex and the City came along and BAM! No hair.
7. I hate when there are those people next to you that just want to sit and not have fun the whole concert. Not cool.
8. Why doesn’t he come to Orlando? Ugh. Tampa.
9. I’m really trying to get to a #10.
10. Ok, that’s better.
Comment win of the week.
And yes, he is still shaving his chest, which is unfortunate. I’m not really a hairy chest person but if he’s no longer going to rock his glorious mane of Big Hair, at least he could keep his chest hair.
They played a fair amount of new stuff but it was never more than two songs in a row. Thankfully they have such a massive catalog after 30 years that you are never far from a great one. I do hate that they push Keep the Faith as a BJ classic. Not a big fan of the song, although Jon does play some mean maracas.
Yes, two hours after Coldplay. It was a nightmare. We learned our lesson and park in better spots now but ugh, what a disaster.